Content Outline

Content Outline
 Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
o Archetypal Theory – looking at Marlow as the hero on a quest
o Psychology – examining text in terms of Freud’s Id, Ego, and Superego
o Examination of Kurtz – putting descriptions of Kurtz in conversation
with “The Hollow Men,” “Vultures,” and “Ozymandias”
o Feminist Theory – looking at roles of women by comparing Intended
and African mistress and discussing “She Walks In Beauty”
o Black Aesthetic – debate over Conrad’s possible racism, as argued by
Chinua Achebe and countered by Cedric Watts
o Link to Romanticism – reading several Romantic poems, but mainly
comparing and contrasting Marlow as a mariner affected by nature
with Coleridge’s protagonist from “Rime of Ancient Mariner”
 Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe (students read this at the beginning of the
year, but I will put this in conversation with Heart of Darkness)
Modern and Contemporary Poetry:
 “The Darkling Thrush” – Thomas Hardy
o Anti-Romantic notion that nature may have no hope to offer man
 “Hap” – Thomas Hardy
o Would it be better to be ruled by evil gods or no gods at all?
 “The Hollow Men” – T. S. Eliot
o If Marlow’s choice is between true evil, and the kind of hollow evil
described by Eliot, can he be justified in preferring Kurtz?
 “The Second Coming” – William Butler Yeats
o “The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate
 “Vultures” – Chinua Achebe
o Evil becomes complicated when you can see glimmers of good in it
Romantic Poetry:
 “The Lamb” and “The Tyger”– William Blake
o Good vs. Evil in nature: Did God make both, and are both still better
than the kind of evil made by man?
 “Lines Written In Early Spring” and “The World Is Too Much With Us”
– William Wordsworth
o Nature is good; man is corrupting
 “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
o Not only is nature good, it is powerful and capable of inflicting
punishment for sins against it
 “Dejection: An Ode” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
o Even great poets get writer’s block
“Ozymandias” – Percy Blythe Shelley
o Even the most powerful humans cannot defeat nature and time
 “She Walks In Beauty” – Lord Byron
o Women are beautiful because of their sweet innocence (but does this
deny them identities as fully developed human beings?)
 “On Death” – John Keats
o No matter how hard life is, we struggle to survive
 “Ode On A Grecian Urn” – John Keats
o Beauty and truth can live on forever through immortal poetry and art
 “Ode to Indolence” – John Keats
o It’s okay to be uninspired, just wait it out patiently and inspiration
will strike when the time is right
 Sections of “The Prelude: Book First” – William Wordsworth
o It’s very frustrating when you feel that the creative spirit has left you,
but once you are inspired by nature’s lessons you can write
 “An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'" – Chinua
o Conrad’s depictions of Africa sets it up as a binary opposite to Europe:
an idea that has informed white Western views of Africa ever since
 “‘A Bloody Racist’: About Achebe’s View of Conrad” – Cedric Watts
o Achebe should embrace Conrad’s attempt to critique white
Imperialism, even if it’s not a subaltern making the critique
 “The Nature of Proof in the Interpretation of Poetry” – Laurence Perrine
o This will really help students learn how to grapple with interpretation
 Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola
o Through this film, students will see how Heart of Darkness is
translated into a different time period, but with very similar themes
 Pandaemonium – Julien Temple
o This film will serve as an introduction to the Romantic poets that will
hopefully help them come alive for the students outside of the texts
we read in class
 “The Course of Empire” – Thomas Cole
o This series of paintings will help students see how Romanticism was
interpreted in a form outside of poetry
Extra Poetry: (will go in packet, but won’t be discussed in class)
 “Ode To A Nightingale” – John Keats
 “Tintern Abbey” and “Daffodils” – William Wordsworth
 “Kubla Khan” – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
 “The Human Seasons” – John Keats
 “A Poison Tree” – William Blake